what to wear when…at a witch-teens sleepover. the architects of the salem witch trials were girls, just young girls - girls who fed on the attention finally awarded them, girls who got to prance naked in the woods and shout and sin without punishment, girls who held for the first time in their lives intoxicating power. they saw themselves in their witchy sisters so they had to kill them. teenage girls and witches are the same, you see. they are dismissed, forbidden, and feared. the taint of association with teenage girls and witches is men’s bogeyman. “don’t curse me! i can’t have a donkey’s tail!” “don’t like what i like! what a humiliation it would be for the taste of teenage girls to match my own!” take-charge ladies are the monsters in men’s closets. their shoeracks are rattling, the doors creak ajar, oh god, they’re coming, they’re here. lacking animal blood, they draw their pentagrams with hot pink lipstick. in their excitement, they press too hard and it squishes to a melty nub. they try to dig out the wax wedged in the wood grain. despite their long, neon nails, they fail but grow to love the secret graffiti left behind. little brothers don’t look down. parents know better than to invade the sacred space of the basement. no one else will ever bother to see it. this will be theirs alone to know about, theirs to share, their hush-hush territorial-staking undertaken with mashed-up make-up. it’s a sacrifice. and no one knows how to sacrifice better than witches and teenage girls. their lips won’t grin red tonight. they won’t wake up with each other’s colored kiss-prints smeared on skin. they surrender their girlhood (only a sliver of it but still) in the name of witchhood. without witchery, they would still never stop sacrificing - wearing their hair this way for that boy; keeping cold and emotionless as they’re shooed them away from job fair booths; sitting on their hands in class because they already answered four questions and no one likes loud, smart girls. girls and witches are ordered to give up their bodies, their goals, their names (hey, honey, sweetheart, bitch). at least, with witchcraft, they’re getting something back. their requests are granted when they sacrifice for spells, unlike when they sacrifice as girls. all charms need strands of their hair or promises to repay the universe’s favor at a later date. soon-to-be-exorcised spirits move rent-free into their brains. they rummage in the kitchen junk drawer for sewing kits to prick themselves with pins. they pinch their fingers and squeeze dollops of blood onto objects in hex bags to solidify their wishes. a swap’s a swap and nothing comes for free so they offer up remnants of their old, girl-only selves to magically ascend. they place shaved barbie heads and eyebrow pencils on the pentagon’s points. purple zippos replace ritualistic candles. they tickle each other’s palms and squint wickedly at the heartlines. they scry with chunky plastic necklaces from claire’s. their dim sanctum is littered with a dust-covered dollhouse and dog-gnawed foam nerf gun bullets. lisa frank trapper keepers and tubes of puffy fabric paint. cheeto-stained tarot cards. gummy bears. those vogue subscription cards with jagged, rip-away edges (you know the kind that you find jammed in magazines between articles and viagra advertisements, stiff and self-stamped. they can’t find magic crystals in their dinky town so they use skewered sugar crystal candy. they crook their fingers under each other and play light as a feather, stiff as a board, shocked and giggling at their group’s strength. they flicker into living corpse-skulls as they moan ghost sounds with flashlights under their chins. “she’s in league with the devil! she’s possessed by a demon,” the terrified cry. no, they’re possessed by themselves. they haven’t been their own until now. but every time that they clumsily run down the wood-paneled basement staircase, they hold opposite-exorcisms. they clear their bodies and minds of anyone who is not them. they purify themselves, make homes alone inside themselves for maybe the first time. they sit in circles, reciting latin that their tongues trip over, pushing a planchette across a ouija board, and it almost feels like a womanly, witchy rebellion. these girls swigging tequila shots, these girls whose cackling conversation drowns out the looped music on the oc's dvd menu, these girls in blue booty shorts with their braces caked with m&m grit: these girls are dangerous revolutionaries. they have nothing to lose because nothing is given to them in the first place - respect, a voice, their rights. they protest their own belittlement by rewriting the laws of physics and vanquishing the misogynistic myth of backstabbing female friendships. they cast spells and hiss “let our will be done,” which ought to scare you shitless. what is more terrifying than a girl who's just realized how robbed she's been and goes to rob the world right back? who robs it of the future's shapelessness and twists it to her liking? they demand obedience from the universe. they manipulate nature's workings. they impose their will on the world and the world obediently shivers and transforms. all this, they do together. each weekend, their friendly coven convenes to gossip and do pedicures, to hold hands, to together change the face of fate.
post 578 of an infinity-part series